Four Corners host Michael Charlton was awarded the Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Australian TV at the 5th annual TV Week Logie Awards — but the lavish showbiz ceremony that was to take place at Sydney’s Chevron-Hilton Hotel on Saturday, 23 March 1963 was not to be.
The Awards’ overseas guest, British comedian Tony Hancock, fell ill with viral pneumonia just days before the event, leading TV Week to cancel the awards ceremony and Ansett-ANA’s ‘Operation Starlift’ which was to bring interstate guests to Sydney.
The presentation, with a guest list of 600 including members of the public who had managed to score one of the limited tickets available, was to feature performances by comedians Barbara Wyndon and Noel Brophy and singer Judy Stone. Also booked to appear at the event was US actress Marie McDonald, who was in Sydney for a night club act.
With the list of winners already in print in the next edition TV Week instead held more intimate proceedings in each state where local celebrities could collect their prized statuettes.
In Sydney it was July before around 50 invited guests gathered on the cruise ship Changsha, berthed at Walsh Bay, to celebrate their local award winners. Gold Logie winner Michael Charlton — the second ABC personality in as many years to win the Gold — was overseas on assignment but his award was accepted by Four Corners producer Bob Raymond.
Among those in attendance at the Sydney gathering were Rod Lever (TV Week editor), Col Joye, Judy Stone, Marianne O’Keefe (attending on behalf of husband Johnny), Ken Stone (NBN3), Bob and Dolly Dyer, Chuck Faulkner, John Laws, Lorrae Desmond, Dawn Lake (husband Bobby Limb was in Adelaide) and dancers Carlu Carter and Bill McGrath.
Meanwhile, down in Hobart there was only one Logie to hand out — to local ABC presenter Wendy Elliss — but the presentation was included in the local television and radio industries’ annual ball at Hobart’s Wrest Point, attended by more than 300 people.
Charlton, the son of pioneer ABC broadcaster Conrad Charlton and brother of sports commentator Tony, was an overwhelming favourite with Logie voters. He was the host of the opening night of ABN2, Sydney, in 1956 and had since served the broadcaster as journalist, interviewer and sports commentator. His profile gained a boost with the launch of weekly current affairs program Four Corners in 1961.
The TV adaptation of the Anzac Day-themed play The One Day Of The Year scored two Logies — one for Best Drama and one for Syd Conabere for Best Actor. The 90-minute play, recorded at the studios of GTV9, Melbourne, starred Conabere, Dennis Miller, Elaine Cusick and Bunney Brooke.
Pick A Box host Bob Dyer received an award for his special tribute to his friend and rival, entertainer Jack Davey. New Zealand-born Davey, one of the greats of Australian radio in the 1930s to 1950s, died of cancer in 1959.
Happy Hammond (pictured), the Melbourne radio star who made the successful transition to television, was recognised for his contribution to children’s entertainment. Hammond’s TV career had started at GTV9 but he had since moved across to HSV7. He gained a wider following with Melbourne-based The Happy Show also broadcast in Sydney via the new network arrangements between the two cities.
Lorrae Desmond, winner of the Gold Logie for Most Popular Female on Australian TV at the 1962 Logies, collected an award for her ABC variety show The Lorrae Desmond Show — while showbiz husband-and-wife team Bobby Limb and Dawn Lake received a Logie for their comedy performances.
Tommy Hanlon Jnr, winner of the Gold Logie for Most Popular Male Personality at the 1962 Logies, was acknowledged with a special award for his daytime TV program It Could Be You.
Newcastle-based television station NBN3 received the award in the special category of enterprising programming by a regional station. The station, which had launched in March 1962, was commended for its live studio productions and documentary features.
Gold Logie: Michael Charlton (Four Corners, ABC)
Best Actor: Syd Conabere (One Day Of The Year)
Best Drama: One Day Of The Year (GTV9)
Best Entertainment for Youth: Johnny O’Keefe
Best Singer (Male): Lionel Long
Best Singer (Female): Judy Stone (pictured receiving her award from TV Week editor Rod Lever)
Best Commercial: Craven A
Best Overseas Series: Ben Casey
Special Award — Comedy: Bobby Limb and Dawn Lake
Special Award — Dancing: Carlu Carter and Bill McGrath
Special Award — Variety: The Lorrae Desmond Show (ABC)
Special Award: It Could Be You (GTV9)
Special Award: Bob Dyer for The Jack Davey Special
Special Award — Enterprise Programming (Country TV): NBN3, Newcastle
Outstanding Television Achievement: Joan Sutherland Spectacular (TCN9)
Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Entertainment: Happy Hammond (HSV7)
NSW: Chuck Faulkner (TCN9), Diana Ward (ABN2), Startime (ATN7)
VIC: Graham Kennedy (GTV9), ‘Princess Panda’ (HSV7), In Melbourne Tonight (GTV9)
QLD: George Wallace (BTQ7), Jackie Ellison (BTQ7), Theatre Royal (BTQ7)
SA: Lionel Williams (NWS9), Angela Stacey (ADS7), Adelaide Tonight (NWS9)
WA: Gary Carvolth (TVW7)
TAS: Wendy Elliss (ABT2)
Source: TV Week, 30 March 1963. TV Week, 20 July 1963. TV Week, 15 June 1963. 21 Years Of Logies, Southdown Press, 1979.
The 55th annual TV Week Logie Awards. Sunday 7 April from 8pm, Nine Network.